A Hong Kong pro-democracy activist appeared in court on Monday and could face jail after he allegedly threw a t-shirt at Chinese President Hu Jintao’s motorcade earlier this year.
Avery Ng from the radical League of Social Democrats party was charged with causing public nuisance and was bailed pending a hearing in February next year after pleading not guilty.
Ng, who is vice-chairman of the party, faces up to two years in jail if found guilty of the offence, according to the South China Morning Post newspaper.
He said his case showed that Hong Kong’s fundamental liberties, guaranteed under the ‘one country, two systems’ governing model, were threatened.
The former British colony has maintained a semi-autonomous status since its 1997 handover by Britain to China, safeguarding freedoms not seen on the mainland.
Ng, 35, was arrested on Saturday for allegedly throwing a t-shirt bearing the picture of late mainland Chinese dissident Li Wangyang at Hu’s motorcade from a footbridge near the city’s airport on June 29.
Hu was in Hong Kong to mark the city’s 15th handover anniversary from Britain to China and to swear in the city’s new leader Leung Chun-ying, at a time when anti-Beijing sentiment surged to a new high.
Police used pepper spray to disperse hundreds of anti-Hu protesters during his three-day visit, while 400,000 people took to the streets to demonstrate against Beijing’s meddling in local affairs in a separate rally on July 1.
A Hong Kong Chinese-language newspaper journalist was briefly detained by police after he asked Hu a question about the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown during the visit.